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KYRGYZ REPUBLIC - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for the Kyrgyz Republic. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to the possibility of violent crime and occasional civil unrest.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.
Areas south and west of Osh, the Fergana Valley region, and areas along the borders of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan
In June 2010, violent clashes were reported in Batken, Jalal-Abad and Osh oblasts, leaving over 350 people dead and more than 2,000 injured. The security situation remains volatile and unpredictable, and incidents of violence and unrest may occur.
Use only officially recognized border crossings in this area, as landmines may be present in uncontrolled border areas. Check if border posts are open before travelling there.
Heightened tensions throughout the region, together with increased threats globally from terrorism, may put Canadians at greater risk. Maintain a high level of personal security awareness at all times. Exercise caution, particularly in commercial and public establishments (such as hotels, clubs, restaurants, bars, schools, places of worship), at outdoor recreational events, and in tourist areas frequented by foreigners.
Border crossings with Kazakhstan and Tajikistan are currently open. Uzbekistan land border crossings are open for citizens of other countries including Canadians and closed for Kyrgyz citizens. Kazakhstan border crossing points with the Kyrgyz Republic may be closed or restricted without warning.
Border areas near Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are mined.
There is a high rate of violent crime and foreigners have been targeted. Organized gangs are common. Robbery, mugging, and pickpocketing occur frequently near major hotels, bars, parks, and on public transportation. Remain vigilant and ensure that your personal belongings and documents are secure. Do not show signs of affluence and avoid carrying large sums of money.
Robberies have been committed by men in police uniforms. If approached, ask to see police credentials. Men posing as “meet and greet” airport facilitators lure unsuspecting foreigners into cars and demand money. Make prior arrangements with your contacts and ask for identification upon arrival. Do not leave with anyone who does not show identification.
Demonstrations occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. They can lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
Avoid public transportation as it is unsafe and unreliable.
At night, call a reputable taxi service in advance before leaving popular restaurants and places of recreation, as foreigners have been specifically targeted leaving such venues.
Use only officially marked taxis, pre-negotiate fares, and do not share a ride with strangers.
Drive defensively, as traffic accidents are a common cause of death and injury. Roads are poorly maintained and inadequately lit, and traffic regulations are often ignored. Buy gas in the cities of Bishkek and Osh because there are few gas stations outside those cities.
Roads to Tashkent are hazardous in winter.
Air travel is limited. Unannounced delays and flight cancellations are common in winter due to poor weather conditions. Reservations on regional airlines are not always respected. Confirm flights with your airline prior to departure.
Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
General safety information
Police can arrest visitors who do not carry identification. Keep a legally certified copy of your visa and registration with you at all times, and your passport and visa in safekeeping facilities. Leave a photocopy of your travel documents with a relative or a friend at home.
Do not walk or travel alone, especially at night.
Tourist facilities are not highly developed.
Dial 101 for fire emergency services and 102 for police.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Kyrgyz authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit the Kyrgyz Republic, which must be valid for at least three months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Before you leave, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Canadians must be in possession of a visa to visit the Kyrgyz Republic.
Tourist Visa: Not required (for stays up to 60 days)
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
Transit visa: Required
Letter of invitation
A letter of invitation is required for stays of more than one month (this requirement does not apply to tourist visas). You must register your passport with the Office of Visas and Registration within three business days after your arrival in the Kyrgyz Republic.
If you plan to travel to both the Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan, with Almaty as your arrival and departure point, you need a multiple-entry Kazakhstan visa in addition to a Kyrgyz visa.
Routine and strict border controls are implemented on the road between Almaty (Kazakhstan) and Bishkek (Kyrgyz Republic) making travel in this region difficult. Strictly adhere to visa regulations.
Special permission must be obtained from Chinese authorities prior to travelling to China from the Kyrgyz Republic.
Violations of entry and exit requirements may result in serious penalties.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. Please consult our Children page for more information.
The Agency strongly recommends that you consult with a travel medicine clinic or health care provider preferably six weeks before departure.
The Agency publishes travel health advice for Kyrgyz Republic.
General health information
There is a severe shortage of basic medical supplies, including disposable needles, anaesthetics and antibiotics.
Carry a sufficient amount of your prescription medications in their original containers.
Do not drink tap water. Drink only bottled water, peel all fruits and vegetables, and avoid undercooked meat, dairy products and most food sold in the streets.
Laws & Culture
Laws & Culture
You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention FAQ for more information.
Penalties for drinking and driving are strict.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
Homosexual activity is legal but is not widely accepted by Kyrgyz society.
Photography of military installations or government buildings may result in a penalty. Seek permission from local authorities before taking photographs.
An international driving permit is required.
Although the Kyrgyz Republic is a secular country, Islamic practices and beliefs are closely adhered to, particularly in rural areas. Dress conservatively, behave discreetly, and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized, which may limit the ability of Canadian officials to provide consular services. You should travel using your Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times. Consult our publication entitled Dual Citizenship: What You Need to Know for more information.
The currency is the Kyrgyzstani som (KGS). The economy is primarily cash-based. Canadian currency and traveller’s cheques are not widely accepted. Declare foreign currency upon entry. You cannot leave with more than was brought in. Convert Kyrgyzstani soms into euros or U.S. dollars before leaving the country, as you will not be able to do so after departure. Automated banking machines are widely available in Bishkek but may be limited in rural areas. Credit cards are accepted in major hotels, some restaurants, and most banks. Due to the potential for fraud and other criminal activity, use credit cards with caution. Leave copies of your card numbers with a family member in case of emergency.
Natural Disasters & Climate
Natural Disasters & Climate
The Kyrgyz Republic is located in an active seismic zone.
Avalanches and landslides are common in mountainous areas, especially in the spring. They can be hazardous and block road access.
Bishkek - Consulate of Canada
Astana - Embassy of Canada
For emergency assistance after hours, call the Embassy of Canada in Astana, Kazakhstan, and follow the instructions. You may also make a collect call to the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 613-996-8885.